First of all, a little background:
I'm a programmer, developing web-based applications, working a full-time job for the first time in my life. I've been working in the area for a decade now, but always on part-time, with long pauses between projects.
I'm hyperactive. I've been diagnosed with mild bipolar disorder for which I take medication; that is somewhat under control; I don't have any excitement or depression peaks during the day, but my mood still swings from very motivated to very demotivated every other half-week or so.
I have a tendency to procrastinate and I become bored with what I'm doing, regardless of what it is, very fast. I have literally tons of interests and can spend hours reading about them at random, but can't develop anything productive with those interests.
I have a very big difficulty with starting new projects and completing old ones, based on my tendency to become bored fast.
I'm fairly good at what I do.
I work very fast. Too fast. I complete tasks a lot faster than my co-workers, in general. Although I am not as organized or as motivated as them, I can complete big projects in very little time, if I overcome the difficulty in starting. I usually can do that easily when I'm in a paid-work scenario.
Trouble is, I find myself having very little to do with my free time at work. I also don't feel at ease to do other things to distract myself while at the workplace, although I feel I'm entitled to them, since I complete tasks on time. That leaves a very big void that is hard to manage. As said, I'm hyperactive and I become bored easily. Being bored is the worst feeling I can have. When the work day is done, I'm exhausted by the fact I had to spend hours doing nothing, which I don't think is reasonable; most people would find that a blessing, but I just can't cope with the void.
What are your suggestions on how to pace myself at work? How can I handle things more slowly and what do you suggest I do to not burn myself out when I have nothing else to work on?
Thanks in advance for any help.
To expand a bit on the problematic here,
Doing more work is not the solution; besides, most of the time I am focusing on a single project and there's really nothing else to do until I receive new instructions for it.
Also, after completing tasks, since I do it on high-performance mode, I become so exhausted I can barely think straight for at least a couple of hours.
I have in the past stumbled upon this problem, more than once. Sometimes it even interferes with the way the company I work with perceives my work capabilities or even with their timeframe for the projects.
For instance, the current project I'm working on was thought of as taking at least one year to become fully complete. The first phase was expected to take at least six months. I completed it in about three, and that is counting the time I spent working on side projects and other stuff. This hurts the company itself, since they're being paid by month of work done: if I end the project before time, it will make them receive less than what was expected at first.
On my previous job, I worked part-time and received a hourly-based salary. I used to receive a lot less than all my colleagues, despite getting the same amount of work done. This led to conflict, inevitably, because I felt I should be paid more, regardless of if I worked less hours than them or not. I could not pace myself to burn out 8 hours per day if I had tasks I could usually complete in 2 hours or less. They could (and they did). Besides all this, to my other colleagues I was seen as kind of a slacker, since they perceived me as working very little, because they could not check the extent of work that was done, just the time I had spent on it. This led to them having little respect for my opinions, which in turn made intra-office relationships bitter, because I held at first a position that surpassed them in responsibilities. Since they thought they worked more, they started wanting that position for themselves, understandably.
What I am looking for exactly is methods to better pace myself at work, mainly. I don't need to perform better, nor to find ways to be more productive; I am productive enough as it is.